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Innovation: more than a buzzword

How many times do we hear the word ‘innovation’ from those discussing business? Whether it’s at seminars, roundtables, or all-out conferences, everyone’s on the innovation bandwagon. Yet, how many of us are actually taking this word on board, putting it into practice, and infusing it into the backbone of our business?

When business owners have a quick glance over at what the word ‘innovate’ means, they generally get to one thought: innovate = do things better. While this may be somewhat right on a very basic level, the word actually incorporates a hell of a lot more than simply getting what’s there and going about it in an altogether stronger fashion.

To innovate is to bring about changes to what has been established, to modify existing methods into new processes, and to place prototypical models on a new path. To use a cliché, it’s about thinking outside the box.

I’ve known too many business heads that assume business innovation means they’re to come up with a landmark new idea, one that will inevitably change the world and drive them into the history books. While I completely applaud all those with the determination to do that, it’s important to understand that innovation can relate solely to the business formula bringing about business success for you.

Many elements of business are connected. Many may ask, ‘how do I drive innovation in my business?’ The answer is associated to many factors that you have most likely looked at in shaping your business to where it is now. Look at that business plan, look at your staff members, look at the revenue and expenditure.

Here are 2 points that I believe help bring about innovation:

  1. Allow for freedom: Rigidness in every aspect of business blocks the passage of creativity. Whether it be managing yourself or managing your staff members, be sure to give the right amount of leeway to allow for fresh ideas and innovative solutions to come through. There’s no point in hiring a genius employee if he or she sits in the corner, begrudgingly accepting their role while their potentially incredible ideas never come to life.
  2. Don’t be scared: Innovation doesn’t come about easily. The driving force behind innovative moves often comes from the winds of change. Most of us don’t like change, we fear it, but how will there be new ideas if you’re too scared to allow for modifications? If you run a small business, this may be one of the best times to push for those sparks of originality. They say necessity is the mother of invention; small businesses need to grow, don’t they?